Monday, July 29, 2013

2 Medicine, Aster and Twin

We're kind of getting used to a lot of blue sky here in northern Montana.....until Sunday morning when we awoke to a moderate cloud cover.  We had planned to head into the Two Medicine section of Glacier National Park and were not about to let clouds stifle our plans....actually we prefer a little cloud cover when we bike, or hike.  For a little perspective I've added this interactive map of the area.  You might have to zoom out a little to see where East Glacier is in relation to St. Mary.

To give a little perspective....point A is St. Mary and point B is East Glacier

By the time we left for our hike around 9:30 the cloud cover was lifting and we could see some blue sky overhead.  Our first glimpse of Lower Two Medicine Lake, and the valley leading into the park.

The park entrance is only 8 miles or so from where we are staying, and the road in is pretty good, but a little rough in places.  No doubt in another season, or so they will be working on this road just as they are this year on the "Going to the Sun Highway".  As usual we were able to use our Golden Age Passport card to enter the park gratis. 

We found a parking spot in the campground trailhead area, parked, and got ready to start our hike.  Our original intent was to just hike 3.4 miles to Twin Falls and back for a 6.8 mile total, but as you know our plans are written in Jello.  

 In the parking lot

 The trailhead

We had glimpses of Middle 2 Medicine Lake (there are three 2 Medicine lakes....Lower, Middle and Upper) at the beginning of our hike, but eventually we were into the trees and a kind of tree tunnel.

In about 90 minutes we reached Twin Falls.....yup, there are actually two working water falls...just as advertised.  Below TLE checks the map as we discuss the possibility of circumnavigating the lake instead of just doing an "out and back" covering the same ground twice.  It appears on the map to be just maybe a mile, or farther to complete the hike around the lake and see another water fall along the way, so we stir up the Jello, change our plan and continue on around the lake.

 This is the map they gave us at the park entrance and it was very accurate.

 Part of the time we hiked in what I call a "tree tunnel"....not too many views, but pleasant nevertheless.

As we gained altitude we began to come out of the trees and were greeted with some amazing views.

At the half way point

As we neared the half way point of our hike around the lake the views really opened up for a while.  By this time it was nearing 1 pm and the cloud cover began to come back in, and with it cooler temperatures.  For much of the hike we were seemingly the only ones on the trail, and rarely came into contact with other hikers, which is more my kind of hike.  We finally came to a sign indicating Aster Falls was .1 mile off the trail, and that we only had 1.2 miles left to the trailhead.  It was an easy decision to deviate .1 miles out of our way, and we are both glad we did.

Aster Falls

The Lovely Elaine

We arrived at the trailhead on the south side of the lake knowing we had another mile of walking on the pavement back to the northern side of the lake and our car.  In total we believe we hiked around 9 miles give, or take a tenth, and we felt great.  At one point I think we had gained almost 1,000 feet in elevation from our starting point, but spread over 5 miles it was not too bad.  This is probably one of the nicest hikes we have taken since we were in Kentucky hiking with the Entrikens at Carter Caves back in early April.

As we drove back into East Glacier Village we spied a restaurant with al fresco dining called the Whistle Stop.....Yelp gives them a 3.5 star rating while Trip Advisor gives a 4, and Urban Spoon a 4.5......the average of 4 is just about right.  They have a nice selection of Montana Micro Brews, and their BLT (for me) is perfect, while TLE had the Polish Dog, which she also loved.  I had the Pigs Ass Porter, and TLE had another Moose Drool Amber Ale.

We arrived "home" around 3 pm with smiles on our faces.....another day lived well.  Sometimes we feel a little guilty about all the good days we seem to have.......and to be sure, most of them are very good......but then we remember all the years of work, raising a family, weekends spent on the soccer pitch, and are so grateful we now have this time to ourselves, and are able to pursue our years long dream of exploring America.  We have only just barely scratched the surface, which really excites us as there are yet so many untold adventures and experiences awaiting us and our Newell coach.  No doubt there will be some disappointing days in our future, but we are just going to continue living in the each day the best we can.

Around 9 pm I noticed this front coming in from the north, and had to take a picture....wonder what this will mean for Monday?  Stay tuned and find out!

Thanks for stopping by!

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